Mayor London Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu Appoint Carla Short as Interim Director of Public Works
City Administrator Chu will begin the search for a long-term replacement for the role while Short serves as Interim Director
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu today announced the appointment of Carla Short as the Interim Director of Public Works. Short currently serves as Superintendent of the department’s Bureau of Urban Forestry. She will replace former Director Alaric Degrafinried, who has accepted a new position with the Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency (BART).
Short began her career with Public Works in 2004 as the City’s Urban Forester and stepped into the bureau’s top position in 2015. She filled in as the department’s Deputy Director for Operations for eight months starting in fall 2019 and also served as Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Street-use and Mapping. During her tenure, she led the development and implementation of StreetTreeSF, a voter approved initiative that transferred maintenance responsibility of San Francisco’s 124,000-plus street trees to Public Works and created a sustainable funding stream to pay for the program. Short holds a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University.
Short will lead Public Works while the City conducts a nationwide search for a permanent director. Degrafinried’s last day will be Friday, August 20, at which point Short will be taking over as Interim Director.
“I’m proud to appoint Carla Short to serve as Interim Director of Public Works to continue the good work the department has done throughout the pandemic as we search for a long-term replacement for the role,” said Mayor Breed. “She has a demonstrated track record as a successful leader, and I know that her commitment to this city and passion for her work will serve the department well during her time as Interim Director.”
"Carla understands how central Public Works is to how we experience the City. The team at Public Works maintains our roadways, tends to our urban tree canopy, cleans our streets, builds and maintains our public buildings, and works side by side our community partners to beautify our neighborhoods,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. "I want to thank Carla for stepping up to lead the department during this interim period. She’s dedicated more than 16 years of her life to Public Works. She understands how the organization works and, above all, she is committed to the long-term success of the department.”
“I am extremely honored to serve as Interim Director and want to thank Mayor Breed and City Administrator Chu for the opportunity to lead the department during this transition. I see firsthand the hard work that Public Works employees demonstrate every day to serve the people of San Francisco, partner with our diverse communities and improve our neighborhoods,” Short said. “Public Works has been through a lot over the past year and a half, and we stepped up to the challenges to get the work done. That would not have been possible without Alaric’s steady hand and the dedication shown by the incredible Public Works team.”
San Francisco Public Works has a far-reaching portfolio with a $360 million annual operating budget, an active capital portfolio that exceeds $3 billion and a workforce of 1,600-plus employees. The department operates around the clock, touching every neighborhood in San Francisco. The staff designs and manages construction of civic buildings and streets; cleans and greens the right of way; maintains civic buildings; manages multi-million-dollar bond programs; trains people for jobs; keeps the right of way free of hazards; paves the roads; repairs bridges and public stairways; expands accessibility; and works at the forefront addressing some of San Francisco’s biggest challenges, including homelessness.